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Archive: October 2017

Foliage and the Respiratory Patient

Posted on October 31, 2017   |   
Author: Gretchen   |   
0 Comments   |   
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This blog post was written by Katie Keating, RN, MS, patient advocate

Fun fall decorations, such as pumpkins, hay stacks and cornstalks are a great way to get in the autumn spirit. Who doesn't love stunning fall foliage? While most people enjoy the lingering warm weather, Indian summer and unseasonably warm temperatures can make allergy symptoms last longer.

Ragweed plants usually begin to pollenate in mid-August and may continue to be a problem until a hard freeze, depending on where you live. As ragweed season winds down in the North and Northeast, the leaves start to fall, ramping up mold production. When leaves just sit in your yard, moisture accumulates, accelerating mold growth. If you have mold allergies, these signs of the season can do a number on your health.

Mold spores that grow on dead leaves and release spores into the air are common allergens throughout the fall. Old spores may peak on dry, windy afternoons or on damp, rainy days in the early morning.

Mold is a non-scientific name for many types of fungi- unwanted patches of black, brown, blue, yellow, pink, green, smelly fuzzy growths. Molds, both indoors and outdoors require moisture.

A runny nose, itchy eyes and scratchy throat can arise as the days get shorter and the leaves begin to change.  Most commonly diagnosed mold related symptoms include: asthma, allergic rhinitis and nasal congestion, post nasal drip with sore throat, coughing and hoarseness.  Mold allergies can cause sleepless nights and daytime fatigue.

Allergies can have a huge impact on quality of life and it's completely unnecessary suffering. A few recommendations for avoiding allergens outside include the following:

 

  • Start taking allergy medications 1 to 2 weeks before ragweed season begins-but please, always check with your doctor before starting a new medication.
  • Camping and outdoor trips should not be scheduled during times of high pollen count, which is usually September to October for ragweed.

 

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Tags: bronch and NTM Fall tips Mold Respiratory
Categories: Awareness

Event Alert: Bronchiectasis and NTM Town Hall Teleconference

Posted on October 24, 2017   |   
Author: Gretchen   |   
5 Comments   |   
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The COPD Foundation is excited to announce that we will be convening a 2-part town hall teleconference series about bronchiectasis and NTM. The first town hall teleconference is titled Bronchiectasis and NTM 101: The Basics and will be convened on Thursday, December 7, 2017 from 1:00pm to 2:00pm EST. This town hall teleconference will provide an opportunity for community members to learn the basics about bronchiectasis and NTM, as explained by expert speaker Dr. Kevin Winthrop of Oregon Health and Science University. The event will allow also for the opportunity for community members to ask Dr. Winthrop questions about bronchiectasis and/or NTM. Topics to be covered during this event are listed in the agenda below. We're looking forward to having you join us on our first-ever Bronchiectasis and NTM Town Hall Teleconference. Please REGISTER FOR THE EVENT HERE and mark your calendars accordingly!

Bronchiectasis and NTM 101: The Basics

1:00 – 1:05 pm Welcome and Introduction COPD Foundation

1:05 – 1:20 pm An Overview of Bronchiectasis and NTM Kevin Winthrop, MD

- What are bronchiectasis and NTM? How do they relate?

- What causes these conditions?

- What are common symptoms of these conditions?

1:20-1:30 pm  Questions and Answers

1:30-1:45 pm  An Overview of Bronchiectasis and NTM cont’d – Kevin Winthrop, MD

- How are these conditions diagnosed?

- How are these conditions treated?

- What resources are available for patients?

1:45-1:55 pm  Questions and Answers

1:55-2:00 pm  Closing Remarks – COPD Foundation

The second part of this town hall teleconference series will take a more in-depth dive into bronchiectasis and NTM and will be convened in early 2018. More details to come soon!


 

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Tags: Bronchiectasis Conference COPD Foundation
Categories: Research

Fire pits, Fireplaces and Chiminea-Tips for Respiratory Patients

Posted on October 17, 2017   |   
Author: Gretchen   |   
2 Comments   |   
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This blog post was written by Katie Keating, RN, MS, patient advocate

Firepits, Fireplaces and Chimineas-Tips for Respiratory Patients

Do you enjoy sitting around a crackling fireplace indoors or cozy firepit outdoors on a fall night? I have always loved doing so; it brings back fond childhood memories of toasting marshmallows or singing around the fire. Outdoor fires make you feel alive. The crackling sounds of indoor fireplaces, the hearth of a home are comforting, inviting.

I have been in denial about the possibility of fire smoke irritating my lungs or causing lung damage for years since I enjoyed using fireplaces and firepits so much. Over the past few years though, I have decided that it just is not worth taking a chance of injuring my lungs.  Hence, I no longer sit by a campfire, a firepit, chiminea or an indoor wood-burning fireplace. I value my health too much and will take any preventive measure to lessen the chance of aggravating the health of my lungs.

The best way to manage chronic lung disorders is to avoid the things that make them worse. It is so important to identify irritants that can trigger respiratory symptoms.

Burning wood releases pollutants into the air we breathe; wood smoke contains millions of tiny particles. Breathing in wood smoke can irritate sensitive airways, cause airway tightening, increase respiratory symptoms, increase hospital admissions, exacerbate COPD, and decrease your ability to breathe normally. Simply put, if you have a lung disease, breathing in wood smoke can make your disease worse and cause a flare-up.

Smoke isn’t the only health hazard you should avoid. Y The heat itself can be harmful. Inhaling air that is consistently at a higher temperature than the surrounding air can cause more damage to the lining of your lower respiratory tract than smoke inhalation. (1)

Environment Canada and Health Canada has identified many hazardous chemical substances in wood smoke, including: (2)

  • PM2.5 consists of a mixture of microscopic particles of varied size and composition and  has been declared a toxic substance under the Environmental Protection Act. These particles can be inhaled deep into the lungs, leading to serious respiratory problems, including mortality, especially among those with pre-existing cardiopulmonary illnesses.
  • Carbon monoxide (CO) can reduce the blood's ability to supply necessary oxygen to body's tissues, which can cause stress to the heart. When inhaled at higher levels, CO may cause fatigue, headaches, dizziness, nausea, confusion, and disorientation.
  • Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) can lower the resistance to lung infections. In particular, nitrogen dioxide can cause shortness of breath and irritate the upper airways.
  • Hydrocarbons (HC) — can damage the lungs.

 

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Tags: Bronchiectasis Firepits NTM Respiratory
Categories: Awareness

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